Scranton Lives Matter! Ch. 5

Lake Scranton lured Casey Weatherhogg even when it rained.

Now the weather changed.

The water froze.

Every morning back in August all you could see of Casey in the middle of the otherwise calm reservoir that provided drinking water to about 77,000 people was his bare behind, rising and falling like a hump-backed whale breezing through the open ocean. Diving and surfacing up and down across the big drink, Casey took great solace in the natural pool, a sacred substance where life began and would one day likely end. Humans are almost entirely water so, in Casey’s mind, when the world’s water turns toxic, life no longer exists.

Death prevails.

Eternal silence ensues.

Call it a day forever.

Casey always peed in the water before swimming to shore, a personal ritual that contributed part of his being, or peeing, as it were, to the body of water, the substance that provided existence in the first place. Giving back, if you will. Or, as the French philosophers say, wee wee. Stepping on land, Casey then dressed for his morning part-time job at the medical cannabis dispensary where he swept up, cleaned employee toilets and ran whatever errands his young hipster boss asked him to undertake.

Breaking for lunch at noon, Casey occasionally ate a homemade postage stamp-sized windowpane of acid with a picture stamped on the front of a multi-colored psychedelic baked potato with kaleidoscopic eyes. Casey dug spuds as his favorite vegetable and sometimes saw visions of dancing baked potatoes cavorting their way into the psyches of seekers who partook in the continuing Merry Prankster-inspired acid test of America. Over the years Casey slapped his trademark tiny hand-drawn baked potatoes on countless window pane blotter tabs of acid he cooked up and stored for a rainy day. A few thousand hits made their way to California where they are to this day considered cult classics by vegetarian trippers and others who value edible produce.

Making blotter acid gave Casey joy. But his cartoon drawings no longer sparkled. His poor little taters often looked like mashed blots rather than blotter, faded ink spots and amoeba purple haze, a scraggly mist hanging over the cold mountains of his mind. That’s why he worked feverishly to manufacture a better brand of acid to distribute more equitably to the masses, a sacred pursuit on which he spent years. Then last week, Christmas week, Casey hit big time. Untold liquid LSD doses now filled a 55-gallon stainless steel drum he bought with $739 of his pension and Social Security savings and kept in the basement laboratory he put together over the summer.

With a decent high school teaching retirement, Casey still struggled to stay sane. Like LSD itself that sometimes breaks down in direct light, Casey regularly resisted mental disintegration. Cracking up scared him so he tried to stay calm. Working to perfect the “Scranton Sunshine” he called his brand made him something of a gourmet acid aficionado and ready for the big time.

Still tripping after all these years, just last night Casey watched a strobe candle flicker madly against the walls of his room, dripping hot wax down the sides of an empty Bali Hai wine bottle he kept from Berkeley as a good luck charm. As the candle dissolved he pressed the button on an old can of shaving cream he found in the medicine cabinet until it emptied a thick white mountain of foam that covered his roll top desk top and oozed to the floor. Laughing so hard his cheeks hurt, Casey realized how insanity would own him if the drug failed to wear off or dragged him so deep he couldn’t climb out of the abyss. But he eventually regained equilibrium. The time he tripped before that he drove his van alongside three running horses led by a white stallion that raced him on the other side of a farmer’s fence. Watching their thick manes blow in the winter wind, Casey wasn’t sure if the acid had taken hold or whether he transcended the holy chemical concoction. Whinnying loudly, he was one with the galloping herd, the only time he consciously wanted to stay with the pack.

LSD isn’t for everybody but everybody can take a lesson from wanderers who open the doors to perception. Casey never advocated wholesale acid consumption for kids or pets or even adults in the 21st Century. But the continuing corporate assault on the environment pushed Casey to action, turning him into a guerrilla eco-warrior who targeted everybody in command of the business world. That went double for politicians in cahoots with the system. Casey might not be right but he wasn’t wrong. OK, he was wrong, but that only fueled his Kamikaze sky pilot high-holy crusade to defend Mother Nature by any means necessary. Malcolm X would get it.

With a half-poached brain after all those journeys to the corners of his mind, with his brain stem parboiled but not yet completely fried, acid in the Scranton water supply made perfect sense to Casey. One final mission remained before Casey blasted into the ozone like Timothy Leary’s ashes heading into space for one last adventure at the tip of a rocket because, like the heads say, a trip is never a fall.

Especially in Scranton.

That stupid NBC television show “The Office,” set in Scranton but shot in and around LA, helped brainwash America into thinking Scranton was a happening place embodied by one memorable line from the show.

“Ain’t no party like a Scranton party.”

Casey knew better.

Goofy Joe Biden also helped indoctrinate the world about Scranton, too.

Casey would soon educate the planet about the difference between dumbass comedy and the president-elect’s hey-man silliness a truly civic-minded America didn’t really want or deserve.

If only Casey could figure out how to skinny-dip in winter. For now, he just skated nude on tissue-paper thin ice, waiting for the right time to make his move to walk on water. Tripping allowed you to walk on water all the way to Woodstock, bubbling memories that brought back three days of fun and music.

A little Scranton dysfunction (LSD) never hurt anybody.

In Casey’s world, ain’t no party like a Weatherhogg party.